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Lead Ban Chronicles – The Right Approach To The Lead Ammo Issue

September 17, 2012

It’s been a while since I’ve done a lead ban update.  That’s not because the issue has been dormant.  The propaganda war continues, led by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and associated cronies.  Fortunately (maybe), the issue has taken a back seat to election year politics.  But don’t be lulled… it’s not going away, and efforts to ban lead ammunition are sure to become more vocal and more public as hunting seasons swing into action across the U.S.

Most regular Hog Blog readers are aware of this, but for those who may be new to the site, I’m absolutely opposed to a legislated ban on lead ammunition… especially on a national level.  There’s simply no justification for such a ban on a wide scale, either from the perspective of environmental health or from a human health point of view.  However, I do support a voluntary effort on the part of hunters to become educated about the potential risks of lead ammunition, and various ways to mitigate those risks.  That may include making a switch to lead free projectiles, but it could be as small as ensuring that carcasses and gut piles are buried or obscured so that raptors and scavenger birds can’t get to them.  There are also options in lead-core bullets that carry less risk than others, for example, some of the bonded bullets don’t fragment as readily as typical, jacketed bullets.  Shotgun slugs and muzzleloader bullets also tend not to fragment, resulting in “cleaner” carcasses.

With this in mind, when I saw the following report in my feeds, I was somewhat heartened.  Sure, this is taking place in Nova Scotia, but it may be just the model hunters in the U.S. could consider.

The organization representing Nova Scotia’s hunters and anglers made something of a trail-blazing decision last week by supporting a move toward non-lead hunting ammunition.

Wilfred Woods, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters, said the group will soon begin an education and information campaign on the effort, one that may be the first of its kind from such organizations in Canada. …

…While the federation won’t convince everyone and isn’t trying to force anyone’s hand, Woods said the decision to make the recommendation to its 5,500 members is consistent with the long-standing efforts of hunters and anglers to take care of the areas where they practise their craft.

I believe this is the conversation we should be having today, and I also believe that the conversation would go much further if folks could de-politicize it and address it as just one more aspect of hunter education.  We don’t all have to switch away from lead ammo, and I believe that many hunters and shooters have no reason to switch at all.  But if the information were presented as education with all the facts and caveats, and the agenda-driven bullshit were removed from the discussion, we’d go a lot further toward a rational and effective approach to mitigating lead’s impacts on non-targeted species.  I also believe (maybe naively) that if hunters and gun enthusiasts were to engage in a serious discussion about lead and make some voluntary efforts to reduce the potential problems, we’d weaken the attacks by the agenda-driven organizations to ban all lead outright.

It’s time for the hunting media to step into this discussion as well.  With the exception of a few politically driven editorials, there’s been almost no discussion about lead ammo in any of the leading magazines or television programs.  It makes no sense to me why these media sources have avoided the topic so diligently, even as the anti-lead folks are pouring ream upon ream of press releases and propaganda into the willing ears of major media sources and the ignorant public.

But hell.  I’m just a blogger… and a small-time blogger at that.  What do I know?

 

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